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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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Leaders of LDC's are concerned with raising the level of all aspects of development of their countries. Since high natality and high population growth rates impede development in most LDC's, most leaders will become increasingly concerned about natality rates in the next 20 years. They will want to know what investments in natality control will result in what reductions in natality rates. They will also want to know what reductions in requirements to meet specific development goals (such as so many hospital beds per capita) will result from reductions in natality rates. They will be interested in the reduced investments that will be needed not only for health and health services but also for education and schools, industrialization and jobs, agriculture and food, housing, national income and its distribution.
Although the savings in investment needed to reach a nation's goals for health services can be estimated with some precision, according to alternative mortality and natality rate projections, it is not yet possible to specify with the precision desired by national planners the reduction in natality and population growth that will result from a given investment in family planning services or the reduction in mortality that will result from a given investment in health services.
Nevertheless, better health remains a goal for the leaders and the public in all countries, and improving health services remains one important means of achieving it. In LDC's, efforts will continue to raise the levels of health services toward the distant goals represented by levels in MDC's. These and other efforts will result in some continuing decrease in the mortality rates of most LDC's, which will continue to increase population growth rates and dependency ratios.
In most LDC's investments in family planning services will result in some reduction in natality rates. Whether they are introduced to enable families, as a basic human right, to have the number of children they want or to enable a society to achieve the size and distribution of its people most consonant with its resources and way of life, investments in family planning are one important means toward achieving a given natality level. They may be a critical factor in initiating natality declines in the present historical circumstances of most LDC's.
The present public expenditure for health services in LDC's ranges from about 2.5 to 7.5 percent of total governmental expenditures. Such investments during the United Nations First Development Decade proved inadequate to meet the moderate goals set by the World Health Organization. Greater investments are needed during the Second Development Decade—the 1970's-but are not in sight in most countries from either internal sources or from all available external sources of technical assistance.
Expenditures for family planning in LDC's are in the range of 5 to 20 U.S.